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Sometimes I am held captive by my past,

its grip is strong and its reach is vast.

There's no need for lies or make believe here,

because you can't fool the man in the mirror.

Reality is a fickle and fragile friend,

it's roots can be shallow and its limbs may bend.

At times the pain can surprise like hidden mines,

and one can find themselves behind enemy lines.

Is it really post traumatic if the stress is still current?

When therapy and medication offer a minimal deterrent.

The cost of reliving each horror is much,

and the fear of that pain poisons all that I touch.

So behind each new smile and each new face,

I constantly search for what may be out of place.

My heart has been broken and glued back together,

I live my life day to day and laugh at forever.

A victim of both physical and emotional war,

as I become free from each trap surrounded by more.

There are those who wish for money, cars and fame

but I'd give it all away for the past to forget my name.

To not feel alone when surrounded by a sea of others,

to be rid of the doubt and fear that constantly smothers.

Yes there are many with issues and baggage,

but to find the gifts one must open the package.

Patrick Elledge #300326

Washington State Department of Corrections

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